AT&T expects nationwide 5G coverage by early 2020, defends "5G E"

Ruben Fields
January 11, 2019

In reality, AT&T hasn't really deployed a 5G network yet - it's just renaming LTE Advanced and LTE Advanced Pro to 5GE. From the outside looking in, it appears AT&T is intentionally trying to deceive customers by playing loosey-goosey with the 5G nomenclature. The problem with this labeling is straightforward: While it's true that there's a technical path for 4G LTE service to evolve into 5G, that evolution hasn't happened yet. Those additions, which pushed the total customer count to nearly 80 million, helped T-Mobile produce its best quarterly results ever, the company announced Wednesday afternoon.

But AT&T is forging ahead.

Recently, AT&T began rebranding its LTE Advanced network on a select number of smartphones by replacing the existing 4G LTE logo with a new 5G E one.

T-Mobile had a more tongue-in-cheek response.

Verizon this week pledged that it won't falsely call 4G phones 5G, and AT&T's name change was also mocked by T-Mobile and Sprint. "5G Evolution is an important set of technologies that AT&T is rolling out while at the same time introducing standards-based mobile 5G in parts of 12 cities this year and in parts of at least 7 more cities in early 2019".

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"Every company is guilty of building a narrative of how you want the world to work, and I love the fact that we broke our industry's narrative two days ago, and so they're frustrated and they're going to do what they do", Donovan said.

AT&T's only real 5G offering is a Netgear mobile hotspot that costs $499.

Again, it's not 5G, and other networks have the same upgrades.

Some Android phones already claim they're connected to a 5G network.

As things stand, the company's 5G E infrastructure and hardware is "all 5G ready".

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